Lesson 3: Constitutional Convention
Essential Question:
How is compromise present or relevant during debate?
How is Congressional state representation based on compromise?

Students will be able to speak from the perspectives of both small and large states in a mock
Constitutional Convention.
Students will be able to connect the Great Compromise with other compromises in their own
The student will demonstrate skills for historical and geographical analysis and responsible
citizenship, including the ability to
a) identify and interpret primary and secondary source documents to increase
understanding of events and life in United States history to 1865
b) make connections between the past and the present;
c) sequence events in United States history from pre-Columbian times to 1865;
d) interpret ideas and events from different historical perspectives;
e) evaluate and discuss ideas orally and in writing
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the challenges faced by the new nation by
a) identifying the weaknesses of the government established by the Articles of
b) describing the historical development of the Constitution of the United States
ENG 6.1
The student will participate in and contribute to small group activities
a) Communicate as a leader and contributor
ENG 6.2
The student will present, listen critically, and express opinions in oral presentations
b) Compare and contrast view points
c) Present a convincing argument
d) Paraphrase and summarize what is heard.
e) Use language and vocabulary appropriate to audience, topic, and purpose
The student will build trust, cooperation, confidence, concentration, and listening skills through
theatre exercises and team-building activities.

 “Birth of the Constitution” video clip
 Name tents for Constitutional Convention
 Letter to delegates
 Great Compromise handout
 BrainPop: U.S. Constitution

 Handouts on key individuals at the Convention
 Convention reflection
 Pencil

Learning Procedures:
 Previously we learned about delegate who played a key role at the Constitutional
Convention, and what they believed.
 Today, we will be acting out our own Constitutional Convention!
 We have delegates from small and large states, as well as many key leaders including
George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, James Madison, and William
o Introduce each person and have him or her sit in their appropriate seats.
o Have state delegates sit at their appropriate name tent, according to population
 Give each student a letter (for each delegate from James Madison) welcoming him or
her to the Convention.
 Discuss what is the same and different about the representatives at our Convention,
compared to the real one (the real one had no women or people of minority, only white
 Each student will use their notes from yesterday to write down a few important bullet
points about their person or state, and their perspective.
 Students will move around the room to meet with other states of like size to create their
speaking points. [Bodily-kinesthetic, Interpersonal]
 Moderated by George Washington, students will host a Constitutional Convention.
 States and key people will get a chance to speak. [Linguistic]
 Guide conversation to cover:
o New Jersey and Virginia Plans (which states would have wanted them and why),
and what did that mean (needed to find a way to have fair representation for
both large and small states). [Logical-mathematical]
o Great Compromise (discuss Roger Sherman, link to Join or Die cartoon – decided
to unite).
o Results of the Convention (Constitution, need for ratification – 9 states,
separation of powers)
 Once the compromise has been settled, bring class back together, and view clip from
“Birth of the Constitution” [Visual-spatial, Musical].
o What were some additional facts or elements we could have included at our
Convention? (delegates were sworn to secrecy, stayed in Pennsylvania during
the hot summer months, James Madison took incredible notes that gave us most
of the information we have today).
 Have students complete their Constitutional Convention reflection independently.
 Bring class together and reflect on the new branches of government, ratification =
approved, Great Compromise.
o When is a time in your life that compromise has been necessary?
o How did you go about it? What were the results? Discuss with a partner.
 Students can write a script or illustrate a comic about the Constitutional Convention.
 For a script, use dialogue that truly shows the feelings and perspective of the characters.
Think about having scene breaks between debate topics.
 For a comic, use dialogue to add depth to your work. Facial expressions and setting will
also play an instrumental role.
Formative: Use class discussion, reflections, and anecdotal notes to formatively assess students’
understanding of the different perspectives present at the Constitutional Convention. Use the
same tools to assess understanding of the Great Compromise.
Student roles will be differentiated based on readiness. Students who are more comfortable
with the content and public speaking will have larger speaking roles. All students will have an
important and individual role, either as a speaker or as a state delegate.
ELL Students: Oral discussion will allow students to engage with their peers in meaningful
conversation. Opportunity for one-on-one or small group scaffolding with character reading.
Low-Readiness: Opportunity for one-on-one or small group scaffolding with character reading.
Students have lower-readiness will benefit from working in heterogeneous groups, as their
peers will help inform them of topics that are important to other states of their size.
High-Readiness: Students with high-readiness will be given larger speaking roles at the
Convention, and will act as leaders among their peers, helping engage them in meaningful
conversation about the topic. Provide extension activities as appropriate.
Special Education: Not applicable for this class, but can make individual accommodations where
necessary. Option for one-on-one help during individual work, as well as scaffolded notes, and
oral assessment.
Multiple Intelligences addressed throughout.